The Flower Market Year – Review

Sandy Felton reviews internationally renowned florist Simon Lycett’s new book charting twelve months in the life of the New Covent Garden Flower Market.

Simon Lycett’s new book, ‘The Flower Market Year‘ charts 12 months in the life of the New Covent Garden Flower Market and through every page he champions the monthly seasonal flowers he loves so much.

We get a sense of his passion and love for the Flower Market, from his Introduction, where he recalls his first visit to the Market as a young man and how the dazzling buckets of dahlias and asters and smell of damp foliage made their lasting impression on him.

Covent Garden really began in the 1600s, although there are records indicating a market as early as the 1200s, when monks from the Abbey of Westminster began selling the surplus from their gardens. By the 1960s it had outgrown its site and in 1961 the newly created Covent Garden Market Authority identified an area just south of the river at Vauxhall where a new market was built. The New Covent Garden Market successfully supplied the nation’s needs until that too needed to be replaced and in 2006 the Market Authority finalised a new combined Fruit, Vegetable and Flower Market with building beginning in 2015, further down Nine Elms Lane.

Simon, aware that the ‘old’ New Covent Market was going to be demolished – a place he had come to know and love – decided to document this historic change. Working with the talented photographer Michelle Garrett, who spent a year photographing and capturing the real sense of the market, Simon was able to build up the evolution of the seasons as they progressed month by month.

The book is a lovely tribute to the nation’s flower industry bringing to life the journey of the floral arrangement from trader to arranger. Each month Simon includes a practical step-by-step guide to an arrangement as well as introducing the flowers popular for that particular month. He also takes us behind the scenes to a world most of us know little about and I found his narration of some of his visits and assignments fascinating and enjoyable.

Whether you are a flower arranger, florist or gardener, you will find this an interesting and an inspiring book. Simon’s easy flowing writing style draws you in to his special floral world and makes you feel part of the journey.

Simon Lycett’s work has been much in demand for over 25 years and the New Covent Garden Market has played an integral part in his life as a florist. From stunning yet modest parties to decadent dinners and magical weddings the world over, including high-profile events hosted by Her Majesty the Queen and members of the Royal Family, Simon’s beautiful artistic work has raised the profile of British floristry and seasonal flowers. He was voted the Florist of the Year by New Covent Garden Flower Market in their inaugural awards and he has the honour of being awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of Professional Florists.

Michelle Garrett is an Australian award-winning professional photographer who is interested in all aspects of observing and capturing ‘a moment in time’. Her photography for the book is superb perfectly encapsulating the energy and buzz of the flower market and the wonderful blooms within it.

The Flower Market Year‘ by Simon Lycett with photography by Michelle Garrett, is published in hard back by Berry Publishing priced at £30.00.

The reviewer was kindly sent a review copy of this book.